The Kansas City Star recently editorialized in favor of a statewide seat belt law that would allow police to stop and ticket drivers for not wearing a seat belt - just as they already do for other routine traffic violations.
I agree with the Star.
States with primary enforcement laws have consistently better seat belt usage than do states like ours, which allow law enforcers to ticket unbelted drivers only after they have been stopped for other violations.
Studies of motorist behavior suggest a powerful argument for encouraging wider seat belt use: adults who don’t buckle up are far less likely to buckle up their kids. And car crashes are the leading killer of all children and the second leading cause of death among African American young men.
Missouri law allows drivers to be stopped for many things, including broken tail-lights and noisy mufflers. We could save lives, particularly young ones, if the General Assembly added seat belts to that list.